Doesn’t every mum yearn to be a truly confident mother? I’m sure it’s true for many mums that second, third, and subsequent babies, there is less time available to just ‘be’ with the baby. For example, feeding patterns have to adapt quickly to fit in around pre-school or school runs. But actually it’s not as hard as it might at first seem. Feeding is about a relationship or partnership between mum and baby so it could be that you might want to encourage your new baby to feed a little earlier than she would otherwise if you need to go out. Perhaps a quick top-up now and a full feed when you get back. Breastfeeding especially can be incredibly flexible in that respect.
The mums that I work with typically tell me that they have more confidence in themselves as mothers the second time round. That they have a better idea of what to expect. On the other hand, your toddler doesn’t stop needing attention just because you have a very young baby in the house. Often we might find that your first child urgently “needs” the toilet or the potty, just as you sit down to feed. Toddlers are delighted when the new baby arrives – who wouldn’t fall in love with a beautiful baby but once they realise that this demanding creature is here to stay … sometimes their expectations of being the centre of your world get adjusted rather abruptly.
Whereas with the first baby, if you’ve been awake all night feeding … it would be absolutely reasonable (even essential) to stay in bed until later in the morning. But you just can’t do that if you already have a toddler in tow. The toddler still wants breakfast; you still have the pre-school or school run to negotiate.
Here are top tips from The Confident Mother for all the second time mums out there, including the gorgeous Kate Middleton.
- Be prepared for your second baby to be completely different.
- Spend one-to-one time with just your first baby.
- When you’re feeding your second baby, your first child may want to be involved – you can make it a special time for all three of you by sitting in the same place each time, and have special books to read or activities (e.g. Fuzzy Felt or colouring) to do together while you’re feeding .
- Skin to skin contact with baby and sibling to encourage bonding.
- Demonstrate sharing from day 1 no matter how old child number 1 is.
- Think about what’s most important – is it spending time with your toddler when the baby sleeps or is it doing the hoovering and ironing?
- Have some healthy nutritious snacks and drinks pre-prepared – it is easy to forget to eat and drink.
- Toddlers don’t realise how big or strong they are in comparison to the baby. Use descriptive praise when your toddler is being gentle and kind.
- Keep the older child’s routine unchanged as much as possible. “My toddler started a brand new pre school with different hours, had his birthday, and received a new sibling in the same week. It was toooo much!!”
- Go with the flow.
- Use a sling so you can play with eldest and do chores.
- When they first meet let someone else hold your baby so you have free arms to nurture your eldest and introduce the new sibling.
- When you have to do something with the baby e.g. bathe it or change its nappy, give the eldest a job so that they feel like your assistant as opposed to being in competition with the new baby for your time and attention.
- Embrace the chaos.
What about you? What are your top tips for mothers like Kate Middleton?
I work with busy mums to help them feel confident in themselves as women and as mums. If you want to be a Confident Mother, you can download my FREE Confident Mother workbook designed specifically for the busy mum.